The Hillary Effect: Nobel Peace Prize for 2011 Goes to Three Activist Women
WASHINGTON – It’s another nod to the Hillary Effect.
Congratulations to Liberia’s Pres. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first female president of Africa, Leymah Gbowee, and Tawakul Karman of Yemen.
The importance of women’s role around the world elevated, with the Nobel committee making a statement and headline news, offers another change in the status quo. This is truly something to celebrate.
The Nobel Peace Prize for 2011 was awarded on Friday to three campaigning women from Africa and the Arab world in acknowledgment of their nonviolent role in promoting peace, democracy and gender equality. The winners were President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia — Africa’s first elected female president — her compatriot, peace activist Leymah Gbowee, and Tawakul Karman of Yemen, a pro-democracy campaigner.
[…] Most of the recipients in the award’s 110-year history have been men and Friday’s decision seemed designed to give impetus to the cause for women’s rights around the world.
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee, and Tawakul Karman stand on their own courage, their own actions leading to the changes still evolving in their corners of the world. They certainly didn’t need Secy. Clinton to tell them their own passions and purpose.
However, it was Hillary Rodham Clinton who has tirelessly trumpeted to the world to wake up to what women’s contributions to their countries mean to the world and anyone wanting stability to rein in still developing, often troubled, regions.
As the Washington Post reported in January, 2010, the Hillary Effect was already in full swing around the world, because of Hillary’s presence, her footprint.
“Hillary Clinton is so visible” as secretary of state, said Amelia Matos Sumbana, who just arrived as ambassador from Mozambique. “She makes it easier for presidents to pick a woman for Washington.”
No one in the Obama administration has worked harder in the last few years to put women’s rights in the forefront of changing countries more than Secy. Clinton. No one has so relentlessly made the case that women can close the gap in stabilizing a troubled country, including setting a burgeoning economy on firmer ground.
It’s the case she began making when she was first lady and went to Beijing, China to give her now famous speech on “human rights are women’s rights.” It has been one of her main missions as secretary of state to bring focus to the roles of women in their government and the importance of their voices being heard. Clinton’s historic and very difficult visit to the Congo revealed the depths of her commitment.
The stability of countries depends on women being engaged in their government, as well as their voices heard and heeded.
Awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to three women changing their worlds sends a message around the globe that has the potential to inspire more women to be brave, becoming the catalyst for even more progress.
Taylor Marsh is a Washington based political analyst, writer and commentator on national politics, foreign policy, and women in power. A veteran national politics writer, Taylor’s reported from the White House, been profiled in the Washington Post, The New Republic, and has been seen on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, CNN, MSNBC, Al Jazeera English and Al Jazeera Arabic, as well as on radio across the dial and on satellite, including the BBC. Marsh lives in the Washington, D.C. area. This column is cross posted from her blog.